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Graphic shows location of the ship and what it would have looked like in its day.


Rare Viking longship to be excavated

By Ninian Carter

June 1, 2020 - Norwegian archaeologists are excavating the largest longship found in more than a century, dating from the dawn of the Viking age.

With the aid of a $1.5m government grant, Norwegian archaeologists will begin work on the excavation of the Gjellestad ship, south of Oslo, in June.

Discovered in 2018, when a farmer drained his land and exposed an artificial mound, subsequent ground-penetrating radar scans suggest the ship is twice as long as a bus. Analysis of the wood through a small sampling hole shows the 1,200-year-old oak hull is being eaten away by fungi that thrives on modern fertilisers, meaning time is of the essence.

There are only 15 or so surviving Viking ships left in the world, with this new discovery dated to the end of the 7th century – making it one of the earliest known examples of ocean-going Viking ships, and placing it about 100 years before the first Viking raids on Britain.

The dig is expected to last for five months.

PUBLISHED: 18/05/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research